Bad Defra; bad grouse moors.

There is dancing in the streets of El Rocio this morning as news spreads of the reprimand given to the UK government (esp Defra) by the EU over the poor job done by the UK to protect blanket bogs from burning.  Blanket bogs don’t prosper under a scorched earth strategy and all this crap about cool burns is just nonsense.

The UK has been letting grouse moor owners and managers burn blanket bogs in protected areas without the appropriate assessment of impact.  Natural England has, therefore, been rather rubbish too.

We learn today (or yesterday actually) that the UK was given a formal letter of notice about this a year ago – not something that the Defra minister Therese Coffey thought to mention in the Westminster Hall debate about banning driven grouse shooting.  Funny that.

The UK now has two months to respond – a bit unlikely since there is a general election happening – and then the UK may be referred to the European Court of Justice.  Excellent!  We may get some hefty fines to add to our Brexit bill because of government incompetence and intransigence.

We are leaving the EU, but we haven’t left it yet. This case might be a very interesting one in gauging how awful the government ‘s position will be on environmental matters after Brexit. Will future Defra ministers (likely to be Tories, but I do hope not Coffey or Leadsom) hold their hands up and admit fault or will they point to this as red tape and gold plating? We’ll see.

But this is the best thing that has happened in the grouse moor debate in 2017. Hoorah!

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10 Replies to “Bad Defra; bad grouse moors.”

  1. Very good news. The UK has ~ 15% of the world’s blanket bogs.
    They need to be kept in fine order for everyone’s use and pleasure.
    An exemplary fine is in fine order.
    Admire the mire. Re-mire the moor.
    We have a huge responsibility to protect theses bogs and allow them to keep doing their ecology, geology and ecosystem servicing.

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    1. Here here! but I don't really believe that we have 15% of the worlds blanket bogs. That percentage must be a peculiarity of the definition if it's true.

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      1. The link gave 10-15%.
        If we restored all the peat-lands drained in wartime or ploughed up in the 1980's to sell to the rich for tax avoidance forestry (e.g. large areas of Sutherland’s Flow Country - ? the largest blanket bog in the world) we might even top 15%. There should be a national bog day.
        ‘When it comes to bogs, nobody can do them better than the Brits.’

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  2. What's to the three (thus far) dislike with the post?

    Highlighting another Govt failure on environmental issues or being 'critical' of Natural England, erstwhile guardians?

    Was the letter obtained via FoI, and is it in the public domain?

    I suppose there will be a case made that the Govt have made £10m available for restoration of peat bog? Conversely how much has been paid out to landowners in 'agri-welfare' / restoration whilst still burning under licence (?) for grouse shooting?

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  3. Odd that the letter has been around for a year but has only come to light now.

    I suggest that the UK Govt will now take precisely no notice of any action the EC takes regarding infringement of EU law. They have made clear their intention to walk away from the negotiations, blaming intransigence on the EU side; then argue afterwards about the bill.

    EU environmental law in the UK is already "dead man walking", even before the ideologues get their grubby mitts on all the transposing legislation.

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  4. We will only leave EU if we let it- a vote for some parties will give us a vote at end of process and chance to REMAIN Why I am being so active for Lib Dems best party where I live to achieve this- If I was in Brighton would vote Caroline Lucas.
    Good news that Tory having slapped wrists yet again by EU on environmental issue.

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  5. More information here.

    https://www.waterbriefing.org/home/biodiversity-and-ecoservices/item/13865-european-commission-warns-uk-over-failure-to-protect-blanket-bog-habitats

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  6. Two wrongs don't make a right, but I am not happy with Spanish "improvements" paid for with my taxes.

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  7. Thanks Mark for reporting this, unlikely to be reported by the grossly biased Tory press. I doubt DEFRA will pay much attention to this EU ruling because they are grossly incompetent and because the political party from which the DERA ministers are drawn have too many vested interests in the grouse moor shooting industry. I hope am wrong but I doubt it.

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